Spotify now supports video podcasts, starting with a handful of shows that can be viewed by most free and premium users. The company announced the news today, saying that all users where podcasts are supported will be able to not only listen to these shows but also watch them, both on desktop and mobile. For now, though, only certain podcasts are able to post video to Spotify; most podcasters won’t be able to upload their own video footage. Videos will start automatically when someone presses play, and they’ll sync with the audio feed, so if someone exits the app or locks their device while watching, the audio will continue.
The initial shows launching video companion content are Book of Basketball 2.0, Fantasy Footballers, The Misfits Podcast, H3 Podcast, The Morning Toast, Higher Learning with Van Lathan & Rachel Lindsay, and The Rooster Teeth Podcast.
We knew this was likely coming soon because in May, Spotify announced an exclusive licensing deal with Joe Rogan, one of the world’s most popular podcasters, who releases a video version of his show on YouTube. As part of that deal, he’ll also be taking his video show over to Spotify, so it had to build this functionality to prepare for Rogan. The company first started testing video podcasts with two YouTube stars: Zane Hijazi and Heath Hussar, hosts of Zane and Heath: Unfiltered. At that time, a source told The Verge that Spotify would be rolling video podcast functionality out “fast.”
This feature sets Spotify up to compete with YouTube on podcasting. It’s already locked down the platform’s biggest show — The Joe Rogan Experience — and while most podcasters likely won’t be exclusive to Spotify, video podcasts on the platform mean creators have more flexibility with distribution. They can promote Spotify as a place to not only download or stream their show but also to watch it, giving the platform a leg up on YouTube. Still, podcasters will likely continue uploading their shows to YouTube if only to profit off of Google-inserted ads and to benefit from search traffic and discoverability. But with Spotify, they can reach even more listeners in a place where they likely already listen to podcasts.